|Date of Birth||October 13, 1893|
|Place of Birth||Reykjavik|
|Next of Kin||Gudjon Hermanson, father, Keewatin, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Glove Cutter|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Tank Battalion|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Machine Gun Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||469 Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||April 30, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||24|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||November 19, 1956|
|Age at Death||63|
|Buried At||White Chapel Cemetery, Troy, Michigan|
Sveinn (Steven) Hermanson was the son of Gudjon (Joseph)and Magdalen (Sigurdottur) Hermanson, born on 13 October 1893 in ReykjavГk, Iceland according to his attestation papers. In his early years in Canada he went by the name of Sveinn but during the war he adopted the name of Steven. It appears that he may have immigrated to Canada first, likely in 1902, with the rest of the family immigrating around 1904. Most of the family were found living on Goat Road in Keewatin in northwestern Ontario near Kenora for the 1911 census. Gudjon was working in the elevator of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company while Sveinn was working at the stave factory. Other family members included sister Sigridur (Sarah) who not with the family, and sister Hermania Groa who was born in Keewatin in 1905. Brother Magdal (Mack), born in 1895, was living in Winnipeg, lodging on Beverley Street with other fellow Icelanders. His occupation was given as printer. By the time of the 1916 census Sveinn was living in Winnipeg, lodging with the Rudolph family, and working as a glove cutter.
Sveinn sign his attestation papers on 30 April 1918 in Winnipeg. With blonde hair and blue eyes, his occupation was given as glove cutter and his father Gudjon in Keewatin as next of kin. He gave previous military service as seven months with the Strathcona Horse with a family photo stating that it had been in 1914. He also indicated that he had applied to the Royal Flying Corps to serve but had been turned down due to lack of education.
Sveinn embarked from Canada for England on 3 June 1918, taken on strength with the 1st Tank Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps upon arrival. He was to serve in England for the duration of the war, returning to Canada aboard the Aquitania, disembarking in Halifax on 25 May 1919. Sveinn was discharged from service on 30 May.
Sveinn’s brother Magdal (Mack) enlisted at Valcartier in September of 1914, going overseas with the 8th Battalion. At age 19, Mack died of his wounds on 23 April 1915 at the No 14 General Hospital in Wimereux, France, having sustained a gunshot wound to the head. He is interred in the Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pal de Calais, France.
On 10 March 1921, in Winnipeg, Sveinn married Annabelle Boyd. The 1921 census found the newly weds, Annabelle’s name listed as Hannah and Sveinn as Steven, living on Nelson Street in Keewatin with Steven working as a packer at the flour mill. Also living with the couple were Steven’s father and sister Groa. Sadly his mother had died in 1913, interred in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.
The next year the couple immigrated to the United States, settling in Detroit, Michigan, with Steven signing a declaration of intention for naturalization the next year. The 1930 US census found Steven and Annabelle living in a rented home on Lincoln Street, Steven the proprietor of a confectionary shop and the couple taking in a number of boarders. The couple later divorced and Annabelle died on 13 June 1942 in Detroit. Her death record listed her parents as John Zrobeck and Malorka Bayko. By the time Steven signed his WW2 Draft registration card in 1942 he was working at the S&C Dinner Car, name of person who would always know his address as Mrs Thomas Kelly. His death record indicated that he did not serve during the war. On 21 October 1952, in Highland Park, Michigan, Steven married Mary Ester Park. Born in 1899 in Ingersoll, Ontario, Mary was the daughter of Louis and Catherine Ellen (née White) Park. By the time of the 1910 census the family had immigrated to Detroit.
Steven and possibly Mary moved to Los Angeles where Steven became the owner of the Lincoln Lunch Counter on Sunset Boulevard. Steven died on 19 November 1956 in the Hollywood Receiving Hospital in Los Angeles. His Canadian Veteran death card listed his widow Mrs Mary E Hermanson of 615 Stinston, Detroit, Michigan as next of kin. Steven is interred in the White Chapel Cemetery in Troy Michigan.
Steven’s father died on 22 August 1939. His sister Sarah had married a Bjarnason and had one son, Sigurd with him, and then later married Jules Christianson; they had three daughters. Sarah and Jules stayed in the area, with Jules dying in 1976 and Sarah in 1980. His sister Groa married Alfred Conlon and died in Fort William in 1948. All are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Steven’s wife Mary died in April of 1992 in Detroit.
The town of Keewatin held a demonstration in August of 1919 to honour all who had served during the war. Badges and medals were presented to the veterans and to family members of the fallen. S Hermanson was found on the list of those honoured as published in the Kenora Miner and News.
By Judy Stockham
Steven’s gravemarker photo: courtesy of Mike Losey on findagrave.com